UK Government slashes renewables incentives


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The British renewables industry is horrified at the latest UK budget, which has slashed the green climate change levy, and provided a mild tax cut for faltering North Sea oil extraction businesses.

According to The Guardian;

George Osborne has infuriated green energy producers and campaigners with a £910m-a-year raid on the renewable energy sector by changing a climate change levy (CCL) at the same time as providing more fiscal help for North Sea oilfields.

RenewableUK, the lobby group, said the changes would cost green energy producers around £450m in the current financial year, and up to £1bn by 2020-2021.

The move hammered the share price of power generator Drax which is in the process of converting stations from burning coal to burning wood pellets. The company lost more than a quarter of its stock market value as it said the move would cost it £30m this year and £60m in 2016.

Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, described the budget as a “serious blow for the fight against climate change”, while Greenpeace said it showed the chancellor is out of step with the times.

Read more:

The Telegraph, another UK newspaper, provides more detail on the “fiscal help for North Sea oil production”:

North Sea oil explorers and producers were handed little in the way of a boost by the Chancellor in the budget despite the industry suffering from falling prices.

Oil prices currently below $60 per barrel have hit the UK’s main petroleum producing basin hard but George Osborne had little to offer in the emergency budget beyond the incentives he introduced at the end of the last parliament.

In March Mr Osborne unveiled measures worth £1.3bn over five years aimed at boosting flagging North Sea oil production by 15pc by the end of the decade.

The effective tax rate on production from older oil and gas fields was reduced from 80pc to 75pc, while on newer fields it would be cut from 60pc to 50pc.

Read more:

The UK joins a growing list of European nations which are significantly scaling back their green energy schemes, some of them retroactively.

Despite strident green rhetoric in the leadup to Paris, Greece, Spain, Germany, Italy, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, probably other European nations have all slashed state aid for renewables, some of them more than once.

Greens regularly try to talk up the alleged “risks” associated with investing in fossil fuel energy. In my opinion, owning an investment in an industry, where a quarter of your investment can be wiped out at the stroke of a politician’s pen, because your business model depends on the generosity of cash strapped governments, is far more precarious.

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Billy Liar
July 9, 2015 9:10 am

It’s very dangerous to invest in pork.

Reply to  Billy Liar
July 9, 2015 10:02 am

I’ll thank you to not further disparage the fruit of the hog.

Reply to  LeeHarvey
July 9, 2015 5:54 pm

LeeHarvey, I totally agree. Breakfast is less than a minute’s work for a chicken but a lifetime commitment for a hog.

Ted G
Reply to  Billy Liar
July 9, 2015 1:10 pm

Talking about Pork.
The Liberal Ontario Government (Canada) went whole hog and passed the Green energy act, which rode rough shod over local governments and farmers they made sweetheart deals with the wind power industry, which in turn get huge subsidies for 20 years. The Government has silenced debate and made sure their Green energy act destroys the value of farmland and the ability of poeple to fight this madness.. Last year 1000s of wind farms only produced 2.6 % of power while backup power plants keep running- Green madness run amok!
Ontario Wind Turbines. Ontario has the most expensive electricity in North America The result of subsidized, over-priced wind power that Ontario doesn’t need
Ontario’s big wind bonanza: Over 90% of subsidies funneled ……/ontarios-big-wind-bonanza-over-90-of-sub…
Feb 4, 2015 – Nearly everyone is losing when it comes to renewable energy in Ontario – except for those few companies that planted industrial wind turbines

Finally I saw the shocking expose of the Liberal Ontario Government and the wind power industry. It’s a must watch documentry called – Big Wind
Watch TVO documentary “Big Wind” online | Ontario Wind ……/watch-tvo-documentary-big-wind-online/
Mar 26, 2015 – As you may or may not be aware, TVO has recently produced and released a factual, 1 hour documentary called “Big Wind” which examines.

John in L du B
Reply to  Ted G
July 10, 2015 7:50 am

Absolutely correct Ted and the Wynne’s government is exactly at the heart of Canada’s economic woes. Ontario once had some of the most reasonable and competitive energy prices in the world, cheap reliable and clean. If oil prices are down resulting in a slackening of the Alberta economy Ontario should be benefitting from cheap energy and Canada as a whole should be growing its GDP at greater than the predicted 1.5%. But her policies have resulted in the hollowing out of Canada’s manufacturing heartland. Ontario manufacturing should be investing in new productivity but who would invest where energy prices will offset any efficiencies brought on by productivity.

Craig Austin
July 9, 2015 9:15 am

Renewable energy is not a business, it is a government program, no program no business. The above is a perfect example. When governments get out of the way, real businesses tend to flourish, and when governments get too involved real businesses tend to suffer. If your business depends solely on political will and not market pressure, you are not operating a business, you are operating a campaign.

Reply to  Craig Austin
July 9, 2015 9:25 am

“Renewable energy is not a business”
That’s funny because my neighbor has been selling cord wood now for about 30 years. He makes a pretty good living off of it.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 9:30 am

And what’s his government subsidy?

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 9:38 am

None….in fact, he has to pay taxes on the profits from his cord wood business.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 9:54 am

Hey, that’s pretty funny – a renewable business that doesn’t require govt subsidy. Of course it’s not carbon neutral and has no significance, but hey ….

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 10:06 am

“Of course it’s not carbon neutral ”

Tell me, how is burning firewood (biomass) for heating not carbon neutral?

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 10:37 am

The trees taketh and the trees giveth CO2, blessed be the trees.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 10:42 am

Regarding the point about carbon neutrality: harvesting wood is carbon neutral if if does not exceed the net primary productivity of the woodland in question. (About 1kg dry weight per square metre for temperate forest).
The reason we used to have heathland in England is because of overharvesting woodland, for fuel wood. (Plus grazing). Once coal was widely used, scrub began to encroach on the heathlands which are now rapidly reverting to woodland. Which is generally a shame for biodiversity because such woodlands go through a long period of deep shade and low diversity.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 10:48 am

Can’t be neutral. The chainsaw can’t run on wood.
When I lived outside Richmond, VA, several friends had wood stoves. They talked about how much money they were saving, as they leaned against the pickup truck they bought to haul the wood.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 10:52 am

Couple of centuries ago young American went into renewal energy business, copping down a cherry tree. Some years later he announced: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
It looks the fooling time (of the all governments, not all the people!) by the renewal energy business might be over soon.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 11:10 am

Burning wood for fuel would be carbon neutral if it was being burned more or less on site – but selling the wood, which involves putting it onto cars and trucks for gasoline fueled transport over concrete and asphalt paved roads, more than skews the balance from carbon neutrality.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 11:16 am

cordwood…can you imagine any city of 100,000 using that to heat their homes and cook with? The amount of timber required? Pellet stoves carbon neutral? With all that logging, processing and transportation? Neutral? REALLY? That’s how inane the green agenda is.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 11:33 am

Burning pellets or cordwood is not carbon neutral, even if you cut, split and process the wood by hand. In the case of transporting wood chips from Georgia, USA to the UK to burn in former coal plants, the net non-neutrality is off the scale.
Besides which, wood has a higher carbon to hydrogen ratio than coal, which has a higher C/H ratio than oil, which has a higher C/H ratio than gas.

Gary Hladik
Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 12:00 pm

Vukcevic (July 9, 2015 at 10:52 am) is confusing George Washington, whose cherry tree story is actually a myth, with Abraham Lincoln.
Personally I think Lincoln was an optimist. One doesn’t have to fool all the people all the time to screw up a nation; one only has to fool some of the people and brib–er, “subsidize”–a few more with taxpayer money.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 12:07 pm

Unless the furnaces are absolutely top line burning timber is a pathway to the third world.
We all love the primordial glow of a fire and the smell of the partially combusted organic mater but there are fewer processes than can produce a more potent mix of poisons for your neighbors to inhale.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 1:56 pm

July 9, 2015 at 9:54 am
Hey, that’s pretty funny – a renewable business that doesn’t require govt subsidy. Of course it’s not carbon neutral and has no significance, but hey ….
Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 at 10:06 am
“Of course it’s not carbon neutral ”

Tell me, how is burning firewood (biomass) for heating not carbon neutral?
I don’t think it could be considered Carbon Neutral simply because it is a rapid release of those Nasty little Carbons whereas the sinking of said same carbons is a time consuming process. It should not be considered as “Neutral” if the SINK can absorb the RELEASE over the same period of time.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 1:59 pm

Bryan A ….It is carbon neutral because most of the fallen deadwood in the forest rots and releases it’s carbon. When you burn deadwood, you are releasing the CO2 just like rotting wood releases, only faster.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 2:55 pm

Bill Treuren July 9, 2015 at 12:07 pm
Unless the furnaces are absolutely top line burning timber is a pathway to the third world.

True but government subsidies using tax payers resources is a surer way to the third world.
Ps, A mature forest has a basic equilibrium with CO2 intake from healthy trees roughly balancing the CO2 emissions of the decaying trees.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 3:26 pm

The greenies are trying to outlaw burning wood in woodstoves or fireplaces in Michigan. They consider it air pollution.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 10:31 pm

Joel D. Jackson July 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm
Bryan A ….It is carbon neutral because most of the fallen deadwood in the forest rots and releases it’s carbon. When you burn deadwood, you are releasing the CO2 just like rotting wood releases, only faster
FASTER being the operative word, it isn’t really carbon neutral as the “Rapid” release of carbon isn’t absorbed by the carbon sinks in an equally as rapid pace. This rapid release acts as a net increase to ambient carbon levels so isn’t really neutral

Sandy In Limousin
Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 10, 2015 1:22 am

July 9, 2015 at 11:16 am
This might interest you.

Huge 230ft rafts were traditionally used to transport timber from Burgundy region to Paris to be sold as firewood
Rivers were used to float logs more than 170 miles because road links between the regions were so poor
Final working raft arrived in city in 1877 before rail links and better roads became the preferred means of transport
However, a full scale replica of a raft has spent the last month recreating the journey as a celebration of culture
Also this
Particularly from page 16

John in L du B
Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 10, 2015 8:01 am

Guess your neighbour is a rich landowner. People in these parts who cut wood get it from Crown land. The revenue doesn’t nearly pay for the forest management costs. Today the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada will subsidize the wood cutters by millions of dollars.

Jim Francisco
Reply to  Craig Austin
July 9, 2015 10:02 am

Reminds me of a phrase I heard that I thought was very true….The only thing worse than doing business with the government was not doing business with the government. Looks like the not part is coming for the financially challenged.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Craig Austin
July 9, 2015 11:55 am

Spot on.

July 9, 2015 9:19 am

“[fight against climate change”, while Greenpeace said it showed the chancellor is out of step with the times.]
The fight is one that only Cervantes could have envisaged and as for “step” the UK are now moving towards a dance that has Astaire/Rodgers like timing . Keep on with the “fascinating rhythm” and show Europe the way back to energy sanity.

Reply to  cnxtim
July 9, 2015 10:40 am

How’s Germany coming along with its no nuclear energy approach?

Stephen Richards
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
July 9, 2015 11:58 am

It’s moving it’s manufacturing to the USA

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
July 13, 2015 4:01 pm

Simply adding more lignite power plants, ejecting more CO2.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  cnxtim
July 9, 2015 11:58 am

The Uk will not be allow to continue this policy of reducing tax on FF and subsidies on Renewables. The EU dictators are already lining up their hit the peasants hard energy control mechanism otherwise known as the European fully integrated smart grid to favour renewables Europe-wide.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  Stephen Richards
July 10, 2015 1:44 am

Which is why we need to get thorium or fusion working, as the alternative is far too close to Orwell’s vision of 1984.

Mike Smith
July 9, 2015 9:20 am

I think Eric Worrall mischaracterizes the “risk” associated with investing in renewables.
The investment risk is any new technology is… that it doesn’t work at all, or fails to work on an economic scale.
Well, the fat lady has sung.

Matt Clins
July 9, 2015 9:20 am

Love that last paragraph!!

July 9, 2015 9:25 am


July 9, 2015 9:28 am

The problem in the US will be in 20 years who will pay for the safe removal and disposal of all the 10’s thousands of wind turbines now running?
What js replacement lifetime for a big 5MW turbine? 20 years, 25 years? Maybe 30 yrs max if it has been well serviced and in a low corrosion environment. Many have now been installed for 10 years.
The companies that installed them and those now running them will be bankrupt. The value of the copper in them will be some incentive to get at them and dismantle them.

Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 9:50 am

Yes. And who will dig up those steel and concrete foundations?

Reply to  Richard111
July 9, 2015 10:41 am


Bryan A
Reply to  Richard111
July 10, 2015 5:54 am

Naked Mole Rats

Jean Parisot
Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 10:10 am

How much copper is in them?

Billy Liar
Reply to  Jean Parisot
July 9, 2015 11:54 am

I call windmills ‘putting resources beyond use’. Three quarters or more of the resources up on a stick do not contribute to the product. These resources, copper, neodymium, steel etc are unavailable for use; they might just as well be buried in the ground.
In reality, sustainable use of a resource is the one that wrings the highest efficiency out of its use.
Solar PV? Don’t get me started …

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Jean Parisot
July 9, 2015 12:54 pm

perhaps this is a more suitable fate for them.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Jean Parisot
July 9, 2015 12:57 pm

oops poem is by
Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

Jim Francisco
Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 10:16 am

I would hope they will be left in place to remind everyone of the mass delusion we were forced to pay dearly. When an amendment to the Constitution is changed the old one is not removed for the same reason. To quote the Who… “So we don’t get fooled again”

Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 10:27 am

To be granted granted a permit for a new mine, a mining company must have in place a remediation plan to restore the landscape after the mine has run its course. An excellent practice; who wants old open-pit mines defiling the environment?
I wonder if windmill companies are under such strictures, or are they given a pass (as they are with bat and bird slaughter) because their agenda comports with warmunism.

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
July 9, 2015 12:11 pm

You forget:
Mine = BAD
Windmill = GOOD!!!

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
July 9, 2015 12:41 pm

Hi Mark,
I’m not sure about onshore wind farm operators, but in the case of the offshore windfarms in the UK, Statoil/Skattkraft has been obliged to describe the decommissioning plan for their Sheringham Shoal windfarm as part of the project plan submitted to the UK authorities for approval, that decommissioning plan includes the financial obligations (who will pay) – it’s very similar indeed to the sort of development plan a company would submit for an offshore oil/gas development.
…Which isn’t to suggest that I’m rushing to defend wasting money and material resources on these demented monuments to folly, just saying, the decommissioning obligation is as well documented for offshore wind as it is for offshore oil and gas.
In the case that the operator goes bankrupt, then the decommissioning obligation is part of the baggage that the buyer of the bankrupt company’s remains and it’s assets inherits.

Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 10:28 am

Dismantling them is easy. All you need are a few pounds of explosives. Explosives will take care of the foundations, too. A dump truck and a front end loader and you’re off to the scrap yard.

Reply to  SMC
July 9, 2015 11:28 am

maybe so but it’ll take more than a couple of pounds! and the drilling there’s always that drilling to pay for too!

Reply to  SMC
July 9, 2015 12:32 pm

A 100 foot turbine apparently has concrete foundations some thirty feet in diameter and some 25 feet deep.
As the numerous wartime look out shelters and pillboxes still littering the uk countryside Will testify, they are very difficult to get rid of.
Turbine foundations are likely there permanently

Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 10:42 am

nobody.they just leave them there to rot as they have in many places for defunct ones.

Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 11:05 am

decommissioning plans typically require the removal of the turbine, tower and all concrete within 4 feet of the ground surface. My guess is they will drain the turbine fluids, tip the tower over and recycle all the metal for a net profit to a salvage firm.

Reply to  vernespunky
July 9, 2015 11:24 am

So you are saying that the remaining 16 feet or so of foundation will remain? Boy, a guy will have to watch out about undertaking any excavation in those areas 100 years hence. Talk about hidden cost!

Reply to  vernespunky
July 9, 2015 11:32 am

Not in England . They will become listed ancient monuments and preservation societies will spring up to maintain their appearance although not their function .
On special days , sacred to the Greens, they will collect for a picnic beneath the vanes and tell each other stories of the good old days .

Reply to  vernespunky
July 9, 2015 11:34 am

Watch out for falling rotor blades.

Reply to  vernespunky
July 10, 2015 8:33 am
Reply to  joelobryan
July 9, 2015 12:24 pm

After removing the metal parts, perhaps they should be required to install pieces of the vanes on top in an X, for the eagles and condors to colonize. Adding some brush on top would help.

Phil B.
July 9, 2015 9:28 am

How about government doesn’t “invest” in any corporate industry and actually lets the market decide what’s best?

Reply to  Phil B.
July 9, 2015 9:35 am

Darn Phil,
Next you will be telling us that the political and economic program of the Classical Liberals that built the Western World is a good thing rather than today’s corporatism. (Crony Capitalism)

Reply to  markstoval
July 9, 2015 4:22 pm

It’s actually Crony Socialism)

July 9, 2015 9:34 am

To answer the question as to who will pay for the removal, no one will. They will sit out there and rot and be a blight on the landscape for the next 200 years, and future generations will point and shake their heads at our incredible folly. Eventually they’ll rust through and come tumbling down.

Reply to  wws
July 9, 2015 9:39 am

War Memorials.
There will be symbolic bird releases on the day chosen to commemorate the War.

July 9, 2015 9:42 am

Let’s hope that this is the first step on the path leading ultimately to the abolition of the UK’s ridiculous Climate Change Act introduced by the Labour Government.

Reply to  Carbon500
July 10, 2015 12:18 am

You say

Let’s hope that this is the first step on the path leading ultimately to the abolition of the UK’s ridiculous Climate Change Act introduced by the Labour Government.

Yes, the harmful Climate Change Act was introduced by the Labour Government and its introduction was supported by the Conservative Party; only one MP voted against it.
The subsequent Conservative-led government used the Climate Change Act and did not mitigate its effects.
The present (elected in May) Conservative government has a Prime Minister whose father-in-law makes large income from windfarm subsidies.
Climate Change Policy is NOT a party political issue in the UK. Activities to reverse the political activities which imposed the Climate Change Act are hindered by attempts to portray the issue as being party political.

Mr Green Genes
Reply to  richardscourtney
July 10, 2015 2:17 am

Point of order Mr Courtney:-
The Climate Change Act received its second reading on 9 June 2008. The vote was 344 to 3.
The Noes were:-
Peter Lilley
Andrew Tyrie
Ann Widdecombe
Christopher Chope
Philip Davies
(Source – Hansard 9 June 2008 Column 126)
Whilst all the 5 MPs mentioned above were from the Conservative Party, I wish to repeat Richard’s final paragraph. Climate Change policy is most certainly NOT a party political matter in the UK. Indeed, to paraphrase the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, “They’re (almost) all in it together”.
Sadly, the 2 most steadfast climate realists from the last parliament, Peter Lilley (C) and Graham Stringer (Lab) are no longer members of the Energy and Climate Change Committee. Expect the committee’s reports to be even more unbalanced from now on.

Reply to  richardscourtney
July 10, 2015 2:25 am

Mr Green Genes:
Thankyou for correcting me. Yes, it was three votes and not one (as I wrongly said).
However, as you agree, my point was valid despite my mistake.

Chris Wright
Reply to  Carbon500
July 10, 2015 1:22 am

Until a few years ago I would have been a life-long Conservative voter.
But no longer. I will never again vote Conservative until they promise to scrap the Climate Change Bill.
But I’m not holding my breath. Maybe things will change when Boris is the leader – he has made some mildly sceptical remarks. Until then I’ll continue to vote UKIP.

July 9, 2015 9:47 am

Elections have consequences.
After 2016 and beyond, I am willing to bet progressives will rue having said this.

Bill Taylor
July 9, 2015 9:52 am

without checking arent windmills something like 12th century technology?

Reply to  Bill Taylor
July 9, 2015 9:55 am

Don Quixote didn’t like them …

Moose from the EU
Reply to  arthur4563
July 10, 2015 2:16 am

But he was crazy and thought they were giant humans.

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  Bill Taylor
July 9, 2015 10:13 am

No, they go back much earlier than that, often used to pump water, on a large scale, in the middle east prior to 500 AD, and probably much earlier than that in the Nile delta. After all, ancient people knew how to harness wind power as early as 3000 BC.
Kind of fits with the green narrative of returning us all to the stone ages.

Reply to  Bill Taylor
July 10, 2015 12:30 am

Bill Taylor:
You ask

without checking arent windmills something like 12th century technology?

No, wind turbine technology is much older than that although one significant develipment of the technology did occur around 1200AD.
Vertical-axis windmills to mill corn were first developed by the Persians around 1500 BC, and they were still in use in the 1970’s in the Zahedan region. Sails were mounted on a boom attached to a shaft that turned vertically. The technology had spread to Northern Africa and Spain by 500 BC.
Low-speed, vertical-axis windmills are still popular in Finland because they operate without adjustment when the direction of the wind changes. These inefficient Finnish wind turbines are usually made from a 200 litre oil drum split in half and are used to pump water and to aerate land. Low speed vertical-axis windmills for water pumping and air compressing are commercially available.
The horizontal-axis wind turbine was invented in Egypt and Greece around 300 BC. “It had 8 to 10 wooden beams rigged with sails, and a rotor which turned perpendicular to the wind direction” . This type of wind turbine later became popular in Portugal and Greece. Around 1200 AD, the crusaders built and developed the post-mill for milling grain (and I suspect it is this development to whicht you refer). The turbine was mounted on a vertical post and could be rotated on top the post to keep the turbine facing the wind.
This post-mill technology was first adopted for electricity generation in Denmark in the late 1800’s. The technology soon spread to the U.S. where it was used to pump water and to irrigate crops across the Great Plains. During World War I, some American farmers rigged wind turbines to each generate 1 kW of DC current. Such wind turbines were mounted on buildings and towers. On western farms and railroad stations, wind turbines for pumping water were between 6 and 16m high and had 2 to 3m diameter. With 15kmh wind speed, a 2m-diameter turbine operating a 60cm diameter pump cylinder could lift 200 litres of water per hour to a height of 12m. A 4m diameter turbine could lift 250 litres per hour to a height of 38m.
This brief history demonstrates that wind turbines can have useful niches to the present day. For example, small wind turbines can be used to economically pump water or generate electricity in remote locations distant to – or disconnected from (e.g. on boats) – an electricity grid supply. But wind power lost favour when the greater energy concentration in fossil fuels became widely available by use of steam engines.
Wind power has recently found favour for large scale electricity generation in some places, but such use is uneconomic and impractical. Today, if wind power were practical and economically competitive with fossil fuels, then oil tankers would be sailing ships. Japan has conducted several studies to ascertain if use of automated sails could assist modern shipping. These studies have demonstrated that available wind power is so small a contribution to the powering of a ship that the systems to obtain it cannot recover their capital costs.
I hope this is an adequate answer to your question.

July 9, 2015 10:06 am

“Oh glorious white masts!
Out of subsidies wrought,
From a left wing agenda
So skilfully taught,
By politicians on a mission
To change the world,
Our judgement being clouded
As the green mist swirled….”

July 9, 2015 10:29 am

That’s not all.
The new government has all but removed road tax incentives to low-emission vehicles, and a gas-guzzling V12 sports car will pay the same rate of tax (after the first year) as the most efficient hybrid. Only pure electric zero emission vehicles will pay less.

July 9, 2015 10:34 am

The US spends about 17 billion bucks annually on renewables and biomass. A bit of that is hydropower, but around $11 B of it is wind and solar.
Total waste. Indeed, worse than worthless.

Reply to  sturgishooper
July 9, 2015 10:36 am
Walt D.
July 9, 2015 10:44 am

If you want a new technology to fail, subsidize it. Subsidies provide a disincentive to innovate to make the technology competitive. So the new technology never becomes competitive and can not compete if the subsidies are withdrawn. A good example is the corn-ethanol business in the US. Brazil has a much better sugar cane-ethanol business.

July 9, 2015 10:53 am

Reality set in.

Reply to  markl
July 9, 2015 11:46 am

Go, Chancellor!

July 9, 2015 10:55 am

The Budget has a few flaws but is mainly in the right direction. The hysterical screams from the Guardian and the Green Party that think that the country should be impoverished to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by a miniscule amount proves that. The other good point in the budget was reassuring our allies that defence expenditure will be ring-fenced at 2% of GDP.

Reply to  andrewmharding
July 9, 2015 11:09 am

That’s a little below UK defense expenditure for the past 20 years, but still far better than Germany’s pathetic 1.2% and Italy’s 1.4% of GDP (2014). France’s and Turkey’s shares are currently 2.2% and the US’ 3.5%. Among other larger NATO countries, it’s 0.9% for Spain, 1.9% for Poland, 1.3% for Romania and 1.2% for the Netherlands. Probably can’t trust figures for Russia (4.5%) and China (2.1%), the latter of which relies on a low-cost, vast conscript force. Japan’s is 1.0%

Ex-expat Colin
July 9, 2015 10:55 am

The only slash these MFs in UK Gov do is down the pan or arched up against or over a wall. The latter is mainly money to fill their own pockets.
If you are so useless at earning money take it via legislation.

Willis Eschenbach(@weschenbach)
July 9, 2015 11:25 am

RenewableUK, the lobby group, said the changes would cost green energy producers around £450m in the current financial year, and up to £1bn by 2020-2021.

I love how in their minds, losing a bogus subsidy is a “cost” to them, and not the loss of unjustifiable income. They desperately need an accounting course to teach them to distinguish clearly between subsidy losses and costs …

M Courtney
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 9, 2015 12:04 pm

If you’re farming cows and someone comes along and shoots your herd… that’s a cost to you.
If you’re farming carrots and someone comes along and pulls them up… that’s a cost to you.
If you’re farming subsidies…

Willis Eschenbach(@weschenbach)
Reply to  M Courtney
July 9, 2015 12:16 pm

Ooooh, subsidy farming, I am so liking that idea! Doesn’t require anything for fertilizer except reasonable amounts of gall …

Reply to  M Courtney
July 9, 2015 6:06 pm

…and copious amounts of BS.

Louis Hunt
July 9, 2015 11:55 am

If an advanced nation like the UK cannot afford to subsidize green energy in their own country, how will they afford to make the Pope happy by giving green technology to developing nations for free?

Reply to  Louis Hunt
July 9, 2015 12:21 pm

Recall the Queen’s husband Philip, former president of the WWF, wants to be reincarnated as a killer virus. I suppose what misanthropic greens of his stripe would really like to give developing nations is a massive dose of Spanish flu or such and not any development aid “green” or otherwise.

July 9, 2015 12:08 pm

“The move hammered the share price of power generator Drax which is in the process of converting stations from burning coal to burning wood pellets.”
Good – these asshats are cutting down forests as far away as North Carolina to produce “recycled” wood chips. Outrageous.

Dave in Canmore
July 9, 2015 12:16 pm

“The company lost more than a quarter of its stock market value as it said the move would cost it £30m this year and £60m in 2016.”
If you lose a quarter of your company value due to a loss of subsidy, it tells you just how unproductive your company really is. A scathing critique of the industry in black and white. Vivid proof these companies produce subsidies not energy.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Dave in Canmore
July 9, 2015 1:33 pm

I don’t think a prudent investor would consider the amount of government subsidies as part of the analysis of the strength of the company for return on investment.

Bill H
Reply to  Tom in Florida
July 9, 2015 6:27 pm

As a noted comedian Jeff Foxworthy once said…… HERE’s YOUR SIGN….

July 9, 2015 12:29 pm

Here is a seemingly very useful paper on compared energy costs from various energy sources from various regions of the world. Perhaps there are reasons why this analysis can not be trusted. Perhaps the readers of WUWT will enlighten me in that regard.
But, amongst other discoveries, we find that the cost of heavily subsidized off-shore wind has apparently RISEN over the last few years.
In other words it seems that if you hurl subsidies at an industry then they will expand their activities in order to maximize their receipt of the free money – even if that requires them to increase costs.
I’m not sure why people imagined that subsidies would stimulate an industry to lower costs.
It seems only to have lead the off-shore industry to invest in more and more stupidly harebrained schemes involving such nonsense as floating platforms in deep water and turbine arrays placed on sand banks 70 miles from the shore…etc.
Good news for Halliburton, though.
Here’s the very useful paper on levelised energy costs for a range of technologies:

July 9, 2015 12:33 pm

Dave in Canmore
+ several.
And a hat-tip to the Milliband who thought this a good idea when Secretary of State for Energy (and a whole lot more, but basically subsidies).
Poor soul.

Big Bob
July 9, 2015 12:44 pm

Back in the late 70s and early 80’s the last solar energy scam ended in about a week after the subsidies ended. As a monument to that great nonsense, my neighbor still has the hot water panels on her roof. I think they are now finally disconnected but she spend over 20 years paying to heat the water that flowed through them.
I suppose that in another 20 years we can do the scam all over again
What a Country

July 9, 2015 1:05 pm

Oil is going to get even cheaper !
Chinese stock market is in the free fall, many will loose their jobs, many will get or feel poorer and cut down on the record growing consumption, many firms will collapse. China is the world’s second economy, the west can’t escape consequences if there is a ‘chinese meltdown’.
OMG “It is going to get far worse than we thought”.

Reply to  vukcevic
July 9, 2015 4:42 pm

The Chinese markets went up 150% over the last 18 months, it was due for a correction. The only damage is when the government tries to stop the correction, like the current one is doing. Can’t have that loss of face, can we?

July 9, 2015 1:07 pm

I thought I heard someone sucking for air, now I know who & why!!

July 9, 2015 1:24 pm

Gary Hladik
July 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Vukcevic (July 9, 2015 at 10:52 am) is confusing George Washington, whose cherry tree story is actually a myth, with Abraham Lincoln.
Didn’t admitting to his enraged father that he cut the cherry tree give birth to the ‘honest Abe’ saying ?
“….fool all the people….”
many links hereatribute it to Lincoln.
Lot of history is myth.
Not being an American, if I got it all wrong, I could be forgiven, I’ll leave it to the Americans to decide what they want to believe.
BTW, have GISS or NOAA any uncorrected data on the past presidents ?

Steve from Rockwood
July 9, 2015 1:48 pm

Whoever came up with the idea that burning wood was carbon-neutral? When we cut down a tree, we have 3 guys with chain saws, one taking off the smaller branches (which we run through the wood-chipper), another cutting up the branches that don’t need splitting and the unlucky guy (me) who cuts up the trunk for the splitter. We then load the wood onto a trailer and drive it to the splitter. Then we split and stack and let it sit for a year. Then we haul it close to the house (tractor) and stack it up ready for the winter. Then we haul it into the house near the wood stoves. Then we burn it. A tractor (diesel), 3 chain saws (oil & gas mix), a splitter (gas) and three guys (piss & vinegar) are required to burn wood. How on Earth is that carbon neutral?
The green energy people seem to be circling Canada these days. I wonder if they smell money now that the NDP (leftmost party) are leading in the polls? On the business news network (BNN) we were told how solar is now cost competitive with fossil fuel and more jobs are created in the green energy sector than in Canada’s oil industry. Strangely, I feel like having moussaka tonight.

Reply to  Steve from Rockwood
July 9, 2015 2:09 pm

In Roman times rocky now almost bare south Dalmatian mountains were well forested, but the late Romans followed by Venetians cut down lot of forests for boat building. Torrential rains (some of the highest rainfalls in Europe) managed to wash most off the soil before new forests could establish itself, never to return back; the story I was told at school.
ergo: cutting down trees carelessly may not mean that nature will put it right and return land to the original state.

Reply to  Steve from Rockwood
July 9, 2015 2:14 pm

Because Steve from Rockwood, unlike you, I use things such as bow saws, mauls, wedges and wheelbarrows that don’t require fossil fuels for operation. The net result is that you can obtain the firewood without using fossil fuels.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 3:33 pm

Ah, you are fueled with food grown with the aid of fossil fuels.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 3:36 pm

All of those things required fossil fuels to be created, however. Unless you are saying that you also smelted the steel in your tools with solar energy? Perhaps you are using stone and you chipped them into useful saws and mobile wheelbarrows yourself? You’re deluded if you think your manual harvests are somehow green.
On top of that, you fail to see the big picture: What happens when everyone switches to wood, since its’ so “carbon neutral”? I’ll tell you: Clear cut forests for the “Efficient” living in cities. Roads that still must be maintained to reduce the energy to wheelbarrow (or even ox-cart) stacks of wood across the country side to where most of the people are. Since we no longer have fuels to refine steel that lasts for a significant while, we’ll have to use a large chunk of that wood to handle and temper iron and bronze. All of this is producing carbon, not only from us but our animals with breathing, which will no longer get scrubbed from the atmosphere because of the aforementioned clear cut forests. There is a reason that we have larger forests, today, than we did 150 years ago: We aren’t cutting the darn things down to heat our homes anymore.
And, really, “Carbon neutrality” is a ridiculous notion in a life-scape that’s fueled by carbon.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 4:20 pm

How are bow saws, mauls, wedges, and wheelbarrows produced and distributed? No, the only way you could obtain firewood without using fossil fuels somewhere in the process is to use the branches and limbs lying on the ground – and carrying them to your fire.

david smith
Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 4:27 pm

The net result is that you can obtain the firewood without using fossil fuels.

Absolute bollocks.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 5:06 pm

Kim, Arsten, Jtom & david smith….
Any BTU firewood provides me during the heating season is in fact carbon neutral. You can argue that the tools I use to obtain it are not, and I will agree with you on that point. However, each and cord I burn is that much deadwood that will not be rotting away, and that much less fossil fuels needed for heating. The forests on my property has been providing me with winter heat now for about 30 years, and by only using the deadwood, the forests are still intact, and flourishing. The rule of thumb is that an acre of forest will product a cord of dead wood annually. This has been the case, and in fact there is still plenty of deadwood that is rotting in my forests, because I cannot harvest all of it.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 5:08 pm

PS david smith, “Absolute bollocks”

So, tell me how the people that lived in Europe 1000 years ago did it?

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 6:32 pm

Joel D Jackson: They didn’t. Steel has been around for quite awhile. Even if you were poor, you’d still get iron or cheaper metals that you would heat and temper with coal sources. Perhaps you are talking about 5,000 years ago?
And they weren’t “Carbon neutral” even then. Not only were their tools created with fossil fuels (like coal), they were still human 1,000 years ago, also. They also produced a lot more actual pollution, like particulates, methane, and other nasties reducing their life span. Much like those that live in Africa do, today. Perhaps you should go see how polluting and dirty subsistence living, even with deadwood-only harvesting, really is? Sitting on multiple acres of owned and preserved forest isn’t the same as actually having to live off of those woods turns out to actually be. You’ll end up cooking with dung when your nearby sources of dead wood, and then felled wood are exhausted.
You might also note that you can go gather the dead wood, but that is not sufficient for even basic economic activity — as you can see if you look at how much forest was felled in Europe.
There is both historical and contemporary evidence against wide spread use of wood as the primary fuel for a variety of reasons. It’s simply not practical unless you are only in it for yourself.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 9, 2015 7:22 pm

Arsten “Not only were their tools created with fossil fuels (like coal)”

Guess you never heard about a substance called “charcoal” great stuff for making steel many centuries ago.
” against wide spread use of wood as the primary fuel for a variety of reasons” …Sorry buddy, you are now constructing what is called a “straw man”……..please try to focus on the topic at hand….namely that firewood is carbon neutral.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 10, 2015 1:02 am

Joel D. Jackson:
You say to Arsten
Guess you never heard about a substance called “charcoal” great stuff for making steel many centuries ago.
Guess you never heard about Charcoal Burners and how terrible their lives were.
Fossil fuels have released us from lives as poor and arduous as those of galley slaves and Charcoal Burners.
I will enlighten you as to why Charcoal Burners invented the seat with one-leg.
A Charcoal Burner obtained wood from the forest by collecting brush wood and/or by coppicing. He dragged the collected wood to a clearing and skillfully constructed it into a bonfire. Then he cut turves from the ground and coated the bonfire with them. Holes were cut through the turves so air could reach the fire and smoke could escape.
The Charcoal Burner then lit the bonfire. His livelihood – and hence his life – depended on the fire producing saleable charcoal: failure to produce charcoal failed to provide income so he would starve.
The intention was for all the volatiles to burn leaving the black carbonaceous charcoal. Too much fire and the charcoal burned away so the Charcoal Burner starved. Too little fire and combustion stopped so the Charcoal Burner needed to dismantle the bonfire and its turve coating, rebuild the assembly, and start again with lost time and effort so he would starve.
The fire must smoulder at the correct manner throughout ~72 hours if it were to provide charcoal. And that required adjusting the openings in the turve coating as required throughout the 72 hours. But monitoring the smouldering pile was slightly less interesting than watching paint dry. And that is why a Charcoal Burner would sit on seat with only one leg.
If a Charcoal Burner became too tired he would nod off his one-leg stool, hit the ground, and wake up.
And that is the origen of the phrase “to nod off”.
So, Joel D. Jackson, would you prefer our modern civilisation which depends on fossil fuels or a return to a society that requires the hardships of galley slaves and Charcoal Burners?


Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 10, 2015 1:04 am

Sorry about the formatting error.
My post to Joel D. Jackson was intended to start
You say to Arsten

Guess you never heard about a substance called “charcoal” great stuff for making steel many centuries ago.

Guess you never heard about Charcoal Burners and how terrible their lives were.

Reply to  Joel D. Jackson
July 10, 2015 7:28 am

I’m not a greenie tho I consider myself a stewart of God’s creation. I have over 8 acres of woods, mostly oak. It grows so fast that I must cut some to manage it properly. Even if I cut only dead trees I cannot burn fast enough to keep up. Somehow I appreciate the warmth from a fire enough that I use it even tho I can afford utility bills. Many contributors appear to be land owners or farmers. Greenies generally own little land and want to control

July 9, 2015 2:05 pm

“…a £910m-a-year raid on the renewable energy sector…” Raid? Really? Reducing the amount of free handouts is not really a ‘raid’ is it?

Robin Hewitt
July 9, 2015 3:05 pm

We have to wait and see what the new secretary of state for energy and climate change Amber Rudd does in Paris. The last two, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey, were part of the “yellow albatross” hung around premier Cameron’s neck, a bird that nearly became extinct at the last election and not because of AGW -smileyface-

William Astley
July 9, 2015 3:40 pm

The green scams do not work, do not significantly reduce CO2 emissions. All the pain for no gain. It is pathetic that the cult of CAGW are pushing scams that do not work. It is pathetic that the media has not gotten to the bottom of this sad scam.
The green scams fail without including the cost and energy input for battery systems. The costs and energy input for battery systems are never discussed as the calculation becomes ridiculous, absurd if battery systems are included.
The first fundamental error/scam in the ‘economic’ calculation is the cost comparison is not ‘green scam’ vs hydrocarbon, as 100% hydrocarbon backup is required in addition to the green scam. ‘Investing’ in green scams mean doubling the installed power equipment to power the grid, in addition to more power lines as power is forced to move from region to region.
The second fundamental issue which is not understood by most people are implications of the fact that wind speed varies independent of load requirements.
The power generated from a turbine varies as the cube of wind speed and can vary 30% in less than an hour. As a power system must always be balanced when the wind blows or the wind stops blowing other power sources must be shutdown and then restarted and then shutdown and then restarted and then shutdown and so on.
As the amount of wind power increases it is no longer possible to use high efficiency combined cycle power plants for base load. This means if a country mandates wind power at a certain breakpoint there will be a net increase rather than a decrease in CO2 emissions, as it is no longer possible to use high efficiency combined cycle power generation (20% more efficient than a single cycle gas turbine). The combined cycle power plants take 10 hours to start and hence cannot be turned on/off/on/off/on/off.
The last part of the green scam, scam is that the calculations do not include the cost and energy to replace the worn out wind turbines (wind turbines and supports have a life time of 12 to 15 years) and battery systems (battery systems have a life of around 7 years and degrade as they age.)
To reduce CO2 emissions below 20% (note the 20% ‘reduction’ in CO2 emissions ignores the energy input to construct the green scams and ignores the reduction in power system efficiency due to forced change to single cycle gas plants which can be turned on/off/on/off/on/off rather than combined cycle gas plants which are 20% more efficient but require 10 hours to start and hence cannot be turned on/off/on/off/on/off, i.e. the idiotic CO2 reduction calculation is a scam) with wind and solar requires battery systems.

The key problem appears to be that the cost of manufacturing the components of the renewable power facilities is far too close to the total recoverable energy – the facilities never, or just barely, produce enough energy to balance the budget of what was consumed in their construction. This leads to a runaway cycle of constructing more and more renewable plants simply to produce the energy required to manufacture and maintain renewable energy plants – an obvious practical absurdity.
A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar output depends on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today’s technology (William: Solar and wind power rather than nuclear) is “beyond astronomical,” Mr. Gates concluded.

Reply to  William Astley
July 10, 2015 1:22 am

William Astley:
You rightly say

The power generated from a turbine varies as the cube of wind speed and can vary 30% in less than an hour. As a power system must always be balanced when the wind blows or the wind stops blowing other power sources must be shutdown and then restarted and then shutdown and then restarted and then shutdown and so on.

Yes, and there is another serious problem provided by the fact that the wind power varies as the cube of wind speed.
A turbine cannot spin too fast or the tips of its blades become supersonic and – when this happens – the induced stresses tear the blades from the turbine (i.e. blade shedding) and they are thrown from the turbine.
Hence, a wind turbine is feathered when the wind is too strong, and that is why a wind turbine only generates power when the wind is strong enough but not too strong.
Winds often gust so there has to be a safety margin for the wind speed when the blades feather: if there were no safety margin then a gust would destroy the turbine.
The fact that wind power varies as the cube of wind speed requires large safety margin with associated reduced time when the turbine generates power.

Ken Petkau
July 9, 2015 4:08 pm

Dare we think that some governments are starting to smarten up and moving away from the scam.

July 9, 2015 4:24 pm

Also the privitate sector is stepping back. Eneco, one of the largest producers and suppliers of natural gas, electricity and heat in the Netherlands, announced that is will scrap 400 million Euro investment in renewable energy.
Dutch article:
The Dutch government has forced this company and other energy companies to split up into two companies: energy supply and network maintanace/management. Because of the split up, Eneco says it cannot afford the investments in renewable energy any longer.

July 10, 2015 6:40 am

Heck, individuals can contribute to a Greece bailout fund through Indiegogo, so why don’t these lobby groups get together and set up a similar crowd-funding operation to finance their renewables experiments? Problem solved! ;->

Reply to  PaulH
July 10, 2015 7:41 am

Sure, I’ll contribute to the Greek bailout as soon as the Greeks start to bail themselves out too. Oh wait, for 2000 years, they’ve not been too interested in paying their taxes.

July 10, 2015 7:50 am

I think George Osborne has the right idea . There is more that can be done to fight the senseless global warming alarmism
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO PREPARE FOR FUTURE CLIMATE [an alternative to climate warming alarmism)?

July 10, 2015 7:53 am

Could not find comment I attempted to post. I am not a greenie although I consider myself a stewart of
god’s creation. I’m a wood burner who considers my CO2 footprint to be nuetral ie I’m contributing nothing to the greening of of our planet. I cut and burn wood because I have 8 acres of Oak and proper management requires that I cut dead and diseased trees. I’ve lived here about 30 years and can not keep up with my forest, ie I can’t burn wood faster than it grows. I’m now at my summer home in glacier country (Michigan) where with less land and colder winters I could burn faster than wood grows. Does anyone know a Greenie who actually farms or manages land? Many contributers actually are responsible farmers. How many Greenies are?

Ben Of Houston
July 10, 2015 8:22 am

Am I the only one that finds it amusing that the reduction in gifts to the renewable energy is being shown as equal to a 7%/16% reduction in taxes for oil companies? The greens are still getting money from the government and the oil companies are still giving money to the government.

Philip Arlington
July 10, 2015 10:59 am

It shows how detached from reality so many people are that a reduction of a subsidy can be described as a “raid”. They already think of our money as theirs even though we haven’t given it to them yet.

July 10, 2015 1:55 pm

For an excellent analysis of world wide energy subsidies and costs

July 11, 2015 6:48 am

At the recent 10th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE, one of the speakers , Wolfgang Muller,, General Secretary of European Institute for Climate and Energy reported on the German experience with wind turbines and solar panels . They have 72,000 MW of installed renewable energy, 35000 MW in wind turbines and 37,400 MW in solar panels. The combined performance is that 75% of the time the output is less than 20% of the nameplate capacity. 90 % of the time the wind turbine output is below 30% of the name plate capacity. The output of the solar panels is just as poor, with 55% of the time the output is blow 10% of capacity. Fortunately they have coal and nuclear backup and access to an international grid, otherwise blackouts and brown outs would be a frequent occurrence. Alarmists who propose to eliminate all fossil fuel usage and go entirely to renewables are misleading the public about what is practical or feasible even with batteries. If you cannot produce the power because of lack of wind or sun, batteries are of little help. Fossil fuel, hydro, or nuclear backup is absolutely necessary with renewable energies . The G7 leaders who recently came back from a summit in Europe proclaiming that the world should aim for fossil fuel free future by the end of this century, their ambitious goal appears to be just political nonsense . Even as they stated this proclamation , Germany, a senior G7 member is replacing all their 17 nuclear power plants with 23 new coal fired plants . So who is kidding the world about the need for more renewables and the feasibility of eliminating of fossil fuel. .

July 12, 2015 6:09 pm

Eric would know but the planned Glen Innes wind farm got its go ahead. Well we’ve had snow the last few days in Armidale, and heavier snow in Guyra and Glen Innes and the New England Highway between Glen Innes and Bendemeer is closed. How would a wind turbine cope with driving high winds and snow/ice eh? Hope it has good anti-freeze.

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